Employment Rights with DACA

As a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), you will be provided an employment authorization document. Also known as an EAD or work permit, the card opens doors to new employment opportunities that were previously not available to you. But you should also be aware of your employment rights. Employers cannot ask DACA recipients for more or different work authorization documentation than what is already permitted by Form I-9. Likewise, an employer cannot reject work authorization documents because of your citizenship status or national origin.

It is your responsibility to maintain your DACA status and the employment authorization that comes with it. If you continue to work for an employer after your EAD has expired, you will be working without authorization. That could lead to problems down the road if DACA recipients are granted a path to legal status. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your DACA status renewed.

Review these frequently asked questions and answers to better understand your employment rights with DACA.

Mistakes on your DACA application can cause costly delays or a denial.

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DACA Employment FAQs

Q: What is Form I-9 and why does my employer use it?

A: The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers to verify that all newly hired employees present “facially valid” documentation verifying the employee’s identity and right to work in the United States. In other words, federal law requires your employer to have each newly hired employee (hired after November 6, 1986) complete an I-9 form. The employer must show the completed forms to enforcement officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security if asked for them.

Q: What documents do I need to satisfy the I-9 requirements?

A: You are required to show documentation that proves your identity and authorization to work. “List A” documents establish both identity and employment authorization. A work permit is a photo ID that proves you are authorized to work. Therefore, you only need your work permit to satisfy the I-9 requirements. Visit the USCIS website for all I-9 acceptable documents.

Q: Should I tell my employer that I have a new work permit?

A: If you currently have a job, you do not need to offer your new employment authorization card (work permit) or any other information. However, if you are starting a new job or your previous card is expiring, you are obligated to show your employer that you have the right to work.

Q: Can an employer reject me because my work authorization expires in the future?

A: No, this is a form of employment discrimination.

Q: Do I need a driver’s license and/or Social Security number to work?

A: No. Your work permit is sufficient identification to prove your identity and employment authorization in the U.S. However, obtaining a Social Security number and state driver’s license (or state ID) can be helpful as additional identification, for obtaining a loan and other benefits.

Q: What is E-Verify and how does it affect me?

A: Some employers will use E-Verify at the time of hire to confirm that their workers have permission to work. The internet-based system uses I-9 information to make this determination. An employer’s use of E-Verify could be considered discriminatory if it is only used to check some (but not all) employees. Learn more about E-Verify >>

Q: When applying, interviewing and starting a new job, do I need to tell the employer about DACA or how I received my work permit?

A: No. The only thing the employer needs to know is that you have an employment authorization card (work permit). The employer does not need to know how or why you received one. The work permit gives you the right to work.

Q: What can I do if I believe that I’m being discriminated against in the work place?

A: There is help available to you. Contact the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. OSC can answer your questions and even call the employer when appropriate. Call 1-800-255-7688 or visit the Justice Department website.

Adapted from https://citizenpath.com/faq/daca-employment-rights/

By Anna Smith de Yoma
Anna Smith de Yoma